NCTA Reacts to NAB Ad Attack

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A negative ad campaign about cable launched Monday by the National Association of Broadcasters provoked a strong response from cable’s main trade group.

"Instead of providing a constructive plan to help American consumers move into the digital-TV era, the NAB is continuing its long legacy of pointing fingers at others and looking for government handouts to help compensate for their own failure to compete in the marketplace like everyone else,” National Cable & Telecommunications Association spokesman Brian Dietz said.

The NAB took out ads in Roll Call and The Hill -- two widely read publications among lawmakers and their aides -- that pictured a remote control showing just the words “on” and “off.”

The ad makes broad allegations that cable operators won’t let subscribers see TV stations’ new digital services.

“They want you to see what they own or produce themselves,” the ad said. “They claim they lack the capacity to carry these additional channels. That’s just not true.”

The NAB evidently timed the attack to coincide with Tuesday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing -- an event where NAB president Edward Fritts and NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow were expected to debate digital-TV issues.

“While the cable industry has invested nearly $100 billion to bring consumers into the digital-TV and broadband era, broadcasters have spent hundreds of dollars taking out advertisements with plainly false allegations. It's time the broadcasters tell Congress how they will move the digital transition forward and stop using these delay tactics,” Dietz said.